Key developments

International Bodies

International Bodies

  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment No. 24 calls for mandatory HRDD legislation and parent company liability at national level (2017)
    • UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment No. 16 calls on states to adopt legislative and regulatory measures, including requiring companies to undertake due diligence (2013)
    • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Report on Access to Remedy Project calls for introducing HRDD into private law (2016)
    • UN Human Rights Council Resolution 26/9 establishes an Intergovernmental Working Group to elaborate a legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (2014)
    • UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights Recommendations to the G20 recognises the trend of embedding HRDD into law (2017)
    • OECD evaluation report on implementing Conflict Minerals Guidance acknowledges the relevance of regulation, illustrating a trend towards recognising the need to embed corporate responsibilities through HRDD (2016)
More information ×
Europe

Europe

  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • Conflict Minerals Regulation supply chain due diligence, adopted (enters into force 2021).
    • Timber Regulation mandatory due diligence system, adopted (entered into force 2013).
    • European Parliament adopted different reports and resolutions calling for mandatory HRDD (2016, 2017).
    • Green Card issued by eight national parliaments calling for EU legislative action (2016).
    • EU Fundamental Rights Agency opinion calls for imposing due diligence obligations, including for parent companies (2017).
    • EU Council Conclusions on business and human rights (2016).
    • Council of Europe Recommendation to Member States to introduce mandatory HRDD where risks are significant, ensure civil liability, and allow passive joinder of parties (2016).
More information ×
Australia

Australia

  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • Illegal Logging Prohibition Act (2012) implements a regulatory due diligence regime for illegal logging
    • Australian Investors and Businesses advocate going beyond mere reporting on modern slavery in proposed legislation to include mandatory human rights due diligence for supply chains of Australian companies (2017).
    • Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade of the Australian Parliament released the results of its inquiry into the establishment of a Modern Slavery Act in Australia entitled "Hidden in Plain Sight: An inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia", which recommends reporting on due diligence as a first step and to consider further due diligence meansures in a review in three years time (2017).
More information ×
Canada

Canada

  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • Choc v. Hudbay Minerals Inc.: Ontario Superior Court permitted the claims to proceed on the basis that it was not "plain and obvious" that Hudbay did not owe a duty of care to the plaintiff (ongoing).
    • Araya v. Nevsun Resources: British Columbia Supreme Court decision to allow the claim to go to trial (2016, ongoing).
    • Garcia v. Tahoe Resources: British Columbia Court of Appeal allowed case to go trial (2017, ongoing).
    • Yaiguaje v. Chevron Corporation: Ontario Court of Appeal will review a request filed by Chevron Canada arguing Chevron Canada is a separate entity and can’t be held liable for the judgment against its parent (ongoing).
More information ×
France

France

  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • Duty of vigilance law enshrines a broad mandatory HRDD regime and general liability principles in case of harm (entered into force 2017).
    • Vinci case: criminal liability for parent company (ongoing).
    • National Action Plan calls for promoting the duty of vigilance law globally (2017).
More information ×
Germany

Germany

  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • KiK Case: liability for German company examined, jurisdiction and legal aid confirmed (filed 2015, ongoing)
    • Siemens vs. Neubürger: director’s liability for breaking duty of care regarding subsidiaries (2013)
    • Government’s National Action Plan considers legislative reform concerning HRDD in 2020 (2016)
    • Greens Party supports a motion calling for HRDD obligations, civil liability, and access to remedy (2016)
    • Human rights due diligence included by the Social Democrats (SPD) in their electoral program (2017)
    • A coalition of NGOs presented a legislative proposal introducing mandatory HRDD for German companies (2016)
More information ×
Italy

Italy

  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • Legislative Decree no. 231/2001 establishes liability of parent company in criminal law, including for human rights violations (2001).
    • Ikebiri Community v. ENI: Court examines parent company’s and subsidiary’s liability (ongoing).
    • Government’s National Action Plan announces a review of commercial and civil law to assess the introduction of a “duty of care” or due diligence for companies (2016).
More information ×
Netherlands

Netherlands

  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • Dutch Child Labour Due Diligence Bill (2017) proposes issue specific due diligence regime for companies selling in the Dutch market.
    • Akpan and Other v. Shell (2015, Ongoing) decision pending as to whether Dutch parent liability can be held liable for acts and omissions of Nigerian subsidiary.
More information ×
Switzerland

Switzerland

  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • Responsible Business Initiative (RBI) proposesr a general mandatory corporate HRDD scheme and parent company liability (under debate).
    • Parliamentary initiative for mandatory HRDD gives a counter-proposal to the RBI (2017).
    • Law on private and military security companies (PMSC) is a sector-focused mandatory HRDD (entered into force 2015).
    • Public Prosecutor v. Von Roll: court imposes due diligence duty on company executive (2016).
    • Government announced that it will consider regulation on companies' respect for human rights if progress is not satisfactory in the coming years (2017).
    • Government stated that principle of separate legal entities must not be used to circumvent human rights and environmental standards (2014).
More information ×
United Kingdom

United Kingdom

  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • Chandler v. Cape: Parent company deemed to have a duty of care owned to subsidiary’s employees (2012).
    • Lungowe v. Vedanta: Court of Appeal upheld a High Court ruling allowing a case brought by Zambian villagers against UK mining firm Vedanta to continue to be heard in UK courts.
    • Okpabi v. Shell: Court rejected parent company responsibility for damage caused by its subsidiary. Claimants appealed (2016, ongoing).
    • UK Parliament’s Joint Committee for Human Rights calls for legislation to impose on all companies a duty to prevent human rights abuses (2017).
More information ×
United States

United States

  • Law
  • Legal Case
  • Policy development
    • Reformed Section 307 of the Tariff Act 1930 prohibits companies from importing products produced by forced labour, even if US domestic supply cannot meet demand (2016).
    • Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires disclosure of due diligence results on whether or not their products contain conflict minerals (2010).
More information ×
This map shows legislative measures, judicial proceedings, authoritative guidance, institutional recommendations, reports, and policy statements which aim to embed companies’ responsibility to respect human rights across their global operations into law. The map does not, nor does it intend to, present a comprehensive compilation of all existing developments in this field. Its purpose is to highlight only mandatory measures, relevant judicial proceedings and decisions, and actionable political commitments. In this way, it demonstrates the growing acceptance of mandatory human rights due diligence (HRDD) and judicial solutions to holding parent companies in home states accountable for human rights abuses throughout their operations.